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6 easy steps to winterize your RV

Written on: September 23rd, 2021

It’s that time of year again when the end of camping season is fast approaching and plans for winterizing and storing your RV in Calgary start to take shape. Here are 6 tasks to perform on your RV before putting it into storage for the winter.

1. Completely drain your water system

This includes your water heater. Be sure to:

  • Remove the drain plug from the water heater and let gravity do the work.
  • Replace the plug.
  • If you have an air fill adapter, attach this to the city fill connection. This way you can apply compressed air to the system.
  • Make sure you open all your taps prior to pressuring the system so you don’t start blowing up fittings.
  • Apply pressure until there is little to no vapor coming out of the taps.
  • Next step is to locate the isolation valve for your water heater and close the valve.
  • You now need to locate your axillary water intake. This should be near your freshwater tank.
  • Place this tube into a jug of RV antifreeze.

If you don’t have an axillary tube, disconnect the intake side of your water pump, and attach a hose to the point then place that hose directly into the antifreeze jug. This must be antifreeze approved for potable water systems. We suggest using a brand that does not use alcohol as they don’t leave a taste or smell in the spring after you flush the system with clean water.

It is very important you isolate the water heater as you don’t want antifreeze on the heating element. Turn on your water pump and then open one tap until antifreeze appears. Then go through your unit opening each tap, both hot and cold, even though the water heater is isolated, the lines are not isolated and they need protection. Make sure to run some antifreeze into all traps and especially the toilet valve to displace or dilute any water in the drain system.

2. Protect your electrical system

You can do this one of two ways:

  • One is to remove your battery and place it where it will not freeze over the winter.
  • Or two, if your unit is equipped with solar panels, they will keep your battery charged but only if you keep any snow and ice off them.

You can pull the battery out of your smoke alarm but leave it open, so you remember to place a new battery in it when you go to use it in the spring. This also prevents the terminals from corroding. Last is your CO LPG detector – these units need to be replaced every 5 years so make a note of the in-service date and either change it now or in the spring when you are getting ready to go camping.

3. Check your tires

Look for any uneven wear and cracks in the sidewalls. If you have any tire issues, you should get it into a shop prior to everyone trying to get their winter tires installed. Also, note the manufacturer date on your tires. There are websites for each manufacturer where you can look up how to locate this information on the tires. Even though you don’t generally put the same number of kilometers per year on your RV as your personal vehicle, keep in mind the tire might look great but the warranty on tires says, “Limited lifetime” and that is usually 7 Years. If one tire needs to be replaced, it may no longer be available, and you may be looking for a match. If everything is ok, consider parking your unit on wood blocks to try and avoid flat spots on the tires.

4. Check that your propane bottles are still under 10 years old

If they are older you need to get them recertified or buy new ones. If you want to get one more year out of them and they are approaching the end of life, consider filling them up now.

5. Give your unit a good cleaning inside and out

Remove all food from the RV to avoid attracting pests and put dryer sheets in the unit as pest deterrents. Remember, mice can get into any hole their nose fits in.

6. Add fuel stabilizer or winter diesel

If you have a motorhome, it is strongly advised by the professionals that you add fuel stabilizer to your fuel if it is gas, if diesel fuel up with winter diesel as it has stabilizers and non-gelling agents added. Then run your unit to circulate the treated fuel through your engine. If you have an onboard generator that shares this same fuel, run the unit as well to get this fuel mix into the generator system.

If you don’t feel comfortable performing these tasks, locate an RV service company to do the work.

RV units can only sit on city streets in Calgary for 36 hours if attached to a tow vehicle and if stored in your yard, they must meet city bylaw requirements. Be sure you are aware of the requirement regarding parking on private residential property.

If you need RV storage in Calgary, look for Secure, Convenient Storage in SE Calgary, easily accessible to all major roadways in the city.

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